Spa worker found frozen to death inside cryotherapy tank

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Albert Ake pointed to his niece in the promotional photos featuring a small chamber bubbling with a cottony cloud of liquid nitrogen at a Las Vegas cryotherapy center.

Chelsea Patricia Ake-Salvacion liked working at Rejuvenice Cryotherapy so much that she stayed behind when her boyfriend moved back to Hawaii to take a new job, Ake said Tuesday. Ake-Salvacion, 24, planned to spend another year in Las Vegas before opening a similar business of her own in the islands, Ake said.  

“She was a good spirit and loved everyone,” Ake said. “She had the true aloha spirit. Aloha is love.” But something went wrong last week, leaving Ake-Salvacion dead alone inside a chamber the size of a phone booth that was designed to subject users to sub-zero temperatures for a minute or two to relieve pain and other conditions.

Ake said Ake-Salvacion texted her boyfriend that she was going to take a treatment herself after the store closed. She was also seen on security video locking the salon, he said. She was found dead the next morning, Oct. 20, after a co-worker arrived and noticed Ake-Salvacion’s car in the parking lot and her belongings in the business.

“When they found her, she was rock solid frozen,” the uncle said in an interview from his home in Reno. What killed Ake-Salvacion hasn’t been determined. But her death pointed to possible dangers in an increasingly popular but largely unregulated treatment favored by celebrities and sports stars.

Las Vegas police found nothing suspicious and the police case was closed without a criminal investigation. The Clark County coroner said determining Ake-Salvacion’s cause of death will await the results of toxicology tests in coming weeks.

Coroner John Fudenberg said no reports about Ake-Salvacion’s death had been released by his office as of Tuesday. Nevada Occupational Safety and Health investigators determined that Ake-Salvacion shouldn’t have been using the cryotherapy chamber after-hours for personal use, said Teri Williams, spokeswoman for the agency.

“The facts indicate that the fatality occurred as a result of employee misconduct or non-complaint activity,” Williams said. “The employer cannot be cited … and further investigation is not warranted.”

Nevertheless, two company locations in Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County were ordered closed Tuesday, after authorities said they found no business licenses and no company permit to perform cosmetic or other procedures.

State regulators said owners also didn’t provide required proof of worker compensation insurance. Attempts to reach spa owners Christian Chateau and Kevin Goujon weren’t immediately successful. The company had plans to open a third location, said Williams, who also represents the Nevada Department of Business and Industry and the state Division of Industrial Relations. She said all three locations were slapped with a stop-work order.

Tuesday’s actions came a day after the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology ordered the spa where Ake-Salvacion died shut down for not having a license to perform skin and other advertised aesthetician services such as facials. The owners were fined $1,000.

“We didn’t even know who they were,” Gary Landry, executive director of the state cosmetology board, said about the spa owners. “They had never approached us.” Cryotherapy involves placing users inside a chamber with sub-zero temperatures for a short time to relieve pain. Athletes who have long used ice baths to ease their aches have turned to whole body cryotherapy as a quicker way to recover after exercise or competition.

Rejuvenice booked 30-minute sessions for $60 through an Internet discount that put regular prices at about $100. The treatment also is promoted as aiding weight loss, improving healing and increasing blood circulation, leading some salons to offer cryotherapy facials as an anti-aging remedy.

7 thoughts on “Spa worker found frozen to death inside cryotherapy tank

    1. Walt Disney had himself frozen because he had some fatal illness (possibly cancer), and the plan was to keep him frozen until a cure was found. Someone accidentally pulled his plug.

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